A Few Things I've Learned

Monday, October 26, 2009

As we come to the end of another year, I've been reflecting on all the lessons I learned. It has been a year of tremendous growth! That growth came much like the struggle of the butterfly out of its cocoon and now my family and the ministry have emerged into this thing of beauty.

I wanted to share two things Holy Spirit revealed this year in regard to ministry.

The first is to realize that a move of God occurs in many different ways. I know sometimes God will move among us in such a profound way that that particular movement becomes the pinnacle and we box God into moving that way everytime. I remember reading once that many worship the form or idea of worship and lose sight of the Savior in the process. I know this much, that God is a God of variety! So what He desires from one Sunday to the next is certain to vary. And if God's people collectively worship in Spirit and Truth, then you have had a move of God! Don't box God in...period! Remember we are not looking for sensationalism but a worship experience that honors the Holy One and changes us in the process!

The second thing God revealed was in regard to counseling. There are certain behaviors that are textbook. Meaning the thought process of an abusive spouse, the mindset of the abused have been thoroughly noted in books, articles, research papers and so on. Even though some things are textbook, each situation is different and must be dealt with accordingly. There are no cookie-cutter solutions. You must take the time to truly listen and hear Holy Spirit for direction. To presuppose and dispense instruction without fully understanding the particulars for that case leads to error and disappointment. So while some of the symptoms may indeed be textbook, how you respond and give counsel should vary from person to person. It's so easy to get caught up in the fact that we've seen this before and here's how to handle it. Give each situation the prayer and wisdom of the Holy Spirit called for.

I hope you benefit from the lessons I learned this year and feel free to share your own in the comments section below.

Stay encouraged men and women of God!

Pastor Lisa


The Gift of Time Off

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Man and woman of God, did you know that the nation recognizes and appreciates you during the month of October?

I didn't either! I discovered this fact about two years ago.

A good friend of mine recently blogged that being a pastor was the second most stressful job a person could have. Dentistry topped the list if you were curious.

So if you have not heard it already, let me say that I appreciate your allowing God to use you to serve His people. I appreciate you as a co-laborer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For all you have endured, all you go through, for standing for holiness and righteousness, for all you pour out, and for all you sacrifice, I appreciate you!

This same friend of mine is currently running a blog series entitled, Just Say It. It's all the things pastors wish they could say to their congregation but wait for out-of-town evangelist to do so. You can read the series at www.deannashrodes.com.

One of the best ways a congregation can appreciate their leaders and their families is with time off. Yes, rest! It is so true that unless one is a leader, people have no idea of what you go through and endure on a daily basis. That is why rest and time away is the gift that keeps on giving.

My husband and I have served as pastors for four years and we have not taken time off, yet. Understand that for the church plant, the ministry with 30 people or less, this is difficult to do. Not impossible, just challenging.

Time off is not optional, it is a requirement and preferably outside the city you serve!

You need time with your spouse!

You need time with your family!

And then you need time for you.

I realized this as my body began to revolt from the stress of it all.

Downtime is needed for your health and sanity. And if you are like me and the other millions of Americans who have trouble sleeping because the mind refuses to shut down; you really need to unplug.

I could run down a list of pastors who in their prime, 30s and 40s, died suddenly because they didn't take care of themselves.

Jesus and the disciples even took a moment or two to rest. Mimic your elder brother Jesus Christ and take a moment to exhale!

With October being the month to appreciate clergy, I have the perfect suggestion for those scouring the Internet trying to find the perfect gift for their leaders -- paid time off! Put the family up in a hotel for a weekend outside the city! Do it frequently so that the man and woman of God can continue to pour.

Pastors, bishops, apostles, prophets, evangelists, elders; you are appreciated today. My prayer is that peace overtake you, favor find you and rest restores you.

You deserve it.

Love you much,

Pastor Lisa


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